Everything Is Relative

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Last month I was hired to train about 100 XYZ (name obfuscation for my income safety) Bank staff in three streams of about 30 per stream. The first stream was on "Basic and Intermediate Excel" and the last two streams were on "Advanced Exc l and Introduction to Financial Modelling". I learned a I paid dearly for.

The first stream was beyond excellent: from their participation, practical questions to final feedback at the end. I was embarrassed by the praises they heaped on me and someone even said I was designed by God to teach Excel. I almost took as an insult but she was serious and nice about it. It was a superb beginning. The company I represented were very happy and I got paid super fast.

The second stream, for advanced Excel, was to be me at my best. I was going to daze and show them us fil advanced things they never knew are in Excel. I poured in my best. Stayed behind to even help those with personal Excel issues. I wowed them with many helpful little known features and formulas in Excel. Then I found out that many people were struggling with the advanced Excel and financial modeling. I was in a dilemma. Should I discard the outline and teach what everyone will understand or stick with the outline and try to carry everyone along patiently? There were some people who wanted the very outline promised and even more advanced things beyond the outline scope and they were making sure that I go as advanced as possible by asking questions and actively participating in the class. So at a point I had to do extra after hours session to satisfy everyone. In the end I got a mixed rating/review. The basic level students complained that the class was too fast paced (a neat way of saying too advanced for them, they obviously didn't read the outline well before choosing to the training) and the advanced level ones complained that we didn't cover deeply aspects like VBA programming. No one complemented or even considered the huge task and extra stress I took on to satisfy everyone. Result: rating was not as fantastic as the previous steam's and I was very sad as I spent a lot more energy and brain resources and time for them than the previous stream.

The third stream, also for advanced and financial modeling, I decided to not lose anyone. I was going to teach what everyone will understand and follow along even if it means dumbing down the outline. And it worked fantastically well. Rating went super high. The praises were flood-like. And I was able to redeem my reputation with my employers.

The lesson I learned: Everything is relative. Even advanced Excel. And wealth. And success. And education. And love.


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